F1 in Schools Technology Challenge

F1 in Schools is a unique technology challenge that enables second-level students to get their hands on the latest technology from the worlds of engineering and manufacturing.

2009 World Championship Cars
Image: Copyright © F1 in Schools

F1 in Schools is a competition, open to all secondary schools, to design, test, manufacture and race CO2-powered racing cars. Student teams will compete against each other in Regional and National Championships to determine the best-engineered and fastest car in Ireland. The winning team will then go on to the World Championship to compete for The Bernie Ecclestone World Championship Trophy.

Competitors will have an exciting educational experience, expressing their creativity, skills and teamworking ability in a fun and positive way.

For more information, visit the Irish F1 in Schools website.

2007 South Regional Finals
Image: Copyright © F1 in Schools

What's Involved?

1. Plan. Form an F1 team and brainstorm. Put your best ideas together in a five-page plan.

2. Design. Team members use CAD software to develop their ideas and model them in 3D.

3. Analyse. Wind tunnel software predicts the effects of drag and lift on the car design.

4. Make. CAM software and a CNC system converts the car design into a physical car.

5. Test. Wind and/or smoke tunnels used to test and improve the car's performance.

6. Race. Display portfolio. Make presentation. Race F1 car at 110 km/h (or faster).

You've got your mates together in a team. You've decided which roles each team member will take... Now it's time to gather your bright ideas into a five-page plan.

Plan

View past team's portfolios from previous F1 in Schools championships from around the world online and use the sample plan to act as a guide for putting your own plan together. The Rules & Regulations gives full details on the Qualifying Round.

Remember: if you want to get ahead of your competitors... Innovation is the key!

Congratulations! You have passed the Qualifying Round and received your F1 in Schools kit - now it's time to put yor bright ideas to work.

Your technology teacher should be able to help you investigate the aerodynamics of racing car design, and view past teams' portfolios from previous F1 in Schools championships from around the world.

Teams use CAD software to develop their ideas and model them in 3D. You will need to spend some time exploring the software to see what it can do to help you design your F1 car.

Design

You've designed your car. You think it's pretty hot. But how will it perform? Engineers need to worry about two main aerodynamic factors:

  • Drag: Your car will move faster if its shape minimises the resistance of the air to its forward movement.
  • Lift: Things that move quickly tend to 'take off'. You're not building an airplane, so you'll want your car's shape to minimise this natural effect.
Analyse

If your school has a Virtual Wind Tunnel software program which can predict the effects of drag and lift, you can refine your car designs to make it more aerodynamically efficient.

Now that you've aerodynamically refined your car design, it's time to transform it into an actual, physical car. This is a two-step process:

  • CAD to CAM: You convert your CAD file into a CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacture) file that can be read by a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) system. UGSNX, Pro/ENGINEER and other CAM software programs prepare CAD designs for automated manufacturing processes by enabling toolpaths to be plotted over complex 3D shapes.
  • CAM to CNC: The CNC system shapes the balsa wood block into a physical car based on the design specifications in the supplied CAM file.

In addition to creating your F1 car, your Make Centre may have wind and/or smoke tunnels to help you enhance your car's performance to find those extra thousandths of a second for race day.

At this stage team members add the final touches: finishing the car with a high quality paint in the team colour scheme and decorating it with any sponsorship stickers or advertising.

Test

Teams must produce a portfolio of supporting evidence for their work. This includes their initial ideas, the design development process, a specification sheet, a 1st angle orthographic projection and a graphic rendering of their final design. Teams must also prepare a verbal presentation on their work.

Today is the day when all those weeks of work pay off. Race day has arrived. But the F1 in Schools championship is about more than head-to-head racing at 110km/h.

Teams are evaluated using multiple criteria, you are expected to perform several activities including displays of portfolios and verbal presentations.

You'll have had an exciting educational experience, expressing your creativity, skills and teamworking ability in a fun and positive way.

Source: http://www.f1inschools.ie/public/tour.html